Hélène Delprat is double, Actaeon-Diana, one who paints to assure us that painting still stands back from the noise, for having learned to lose itself. To lose.
One cannot say « no » without belonging to the world of the traveller Thomas Hutter, the young clerck in Nosferatu: « And when he had crossed the bridge, the phantoms came to meet him. » But crossing the threshold can mean something more simple than any science of vampires, for all these stories of shadows, of cinema, of stairs, of hands, of love and skulls, call only for one salutatory formula : « Leave here everything you know, become unversed. And travel ! » There is no point looking for a source here: it is in what you do, and that is why Delprat never talks about her painting but only about all the stories that led her there and make the origin unstable. Being impertinent and extricating oneself from the danger of knowledge — this, surely, is the elegance of not saying, of letting people live and look. And, to end as she does with a big burst of laughter, where she still and always hides, here is a kick up the backside à la Benjamin Péret in Derrière les fagots* : (...) and the empty tin of sardines saw itself sainted / A heel hard in the face / and it’s a divinity / swimming in pure honey / ignoring the protozoa / the seahorses / the celestial pebbles that leap from one eye to anothe. (...)
Excerpt from « The universe is the ash of a dead god », written by Corinne Rondeau for the catalogue of Hélène Delprat’s solo show at La maison rouge « I Did It My Way », from June 23rd to September 17th 2017. * « Et ainsi de suite », in : Derrière les fagots, José Corti, Paris, 1961, p. 108.
Hélène Delprat, lives and works in Paris. After a residency at Villa Médicis, Rome, which ended with a first anonymous exhibition in 1984, Hélène Delprat joined the galerie Maeght which she left in 1995. She works on her own and for three years is the guest artist at the école d’art Paris-Cergy. In 2011, she joins the Galerie Christophe Gaillard. Inspired by literature — from Ovid’s « Metamorphoses », to Mary Shelley and contemporary novels — cinema, internet databases or even radio and press, she develops some kind of book of Hours, both dark and sensitive where fiction and documen-tary intertwine: her real or fake interviews, her radio drawings, her paintings, her videos and her collection of articles round up this sort of inventory of a world both fortuitous and deliberate. She’s been a professor at the École Nationale des Beaux-Arts de Paris since 2014. In June 2017, she has a solo at La maison rouge, followed in March 2018, by the Musée des Beaux Arts de Caen. In April 2018, she will have her first solo show at Carlier-Gebauer, Berlin.
Corinne Rondeau is an art critic and, over the last ten years, a familiar voice on France Culture radio. She has written several mono-graphs, notably on the choreographer Lucinda Childs (CND, 2013), the artist David Claerbout (Nicolas Chaudun, 2013), the essayist and novelist Susan Sontag (L’éclat, 2014), and the filmmaker Chantal Akerman (forthcoming from L’éclat, 2017). She lectures in aesthetics and art at the Université de Nîmes.